20 , 2004
The archetypal complaint about this part of the world is the weather.
I may be unique on this point, but I must come to the defense of
the U.K.’s weather. It's actually quite great if you like
a bit of predictability and routine in your life. The weather here
anchors me: It's one thing I can count on day in and day out. The
temperature is always between 40 and 50 degrees, any time, day or
night, and it's been that way since the day I arrived. The skies
are always overcast with just a little bit of mist in the air, but
never really raining. I don’t even have to look out the window
– I know exactly what to wear today. I find that comforting.
One complaint I did have early on in my visit was that there was
too much walking. Belfast is not a huge city, but it's big enough,
and it's a good half-hour walk to the center of town, where all
the shopping and entertainment is located. The walk to class is
3/4 of a mile (someone in my house actually clocked it on a pedometer),
which is farther than I'ld ever have to go on Centre’s cozy
campus. Small streets and outdoor shopping are typical of European
cities, so there are lots of pedestrians. At first, it seemed like
a lot, but now I don’t even blink an eye at walking 2 miles
to the Tesco in the city centre to buy groceries. The trek actually
provides quite a good workout on the way back, when my arms are
loaded down with produce.
So after two months of getting in shape
by walking absolutely everywhere in Belfast, my friends and I decided
that it was time to take on a real physical challenge. We devoted
the entire day yesterday to scaling the massive Cave Hill on the
outskirts of town and touring the famous Belfast castle which lies
at the base of the hill.
From the road,
the climb did not look so intimidating, but standing at the bottom,
it appeared to be quite a challenge. As usual it was chilly, misty,
and overcast, but we were of course prepared for that.